The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a free service to help businesses, probably the only thing government does for business.  It is funded one-half by the feds and the other half by the State.  It is attached to UH-Hilo and located in the American Savings Bank building, Suite 109.  The State office is located in Hilo.  Kim introduced the speaker as a business therapist.  Judi Mellon, Ph.D., center director and former marine, described the range of services offered to start-ups as well as existing businesses.
Why do businesses fail? Too much capital expense, poor customer relations, unrealistic plan, no clear focus, don't have the personality to run a business.  There is a growing trend for work at home independent consultants who have a shared or rented space to meet as the need arises.  The fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs are over 50 years old.  
The SBDC offers the following types of services to existing businesses to overcome struggles, expand, or raise capital:
  • Strategy Development
  • Human Resources
  • Prepare to Seek Financing
  • Raising Capital
  • Marketing Assistance
  • Expansion
  • Selling/Buying a Business.
The SBDC offers the following types of services to aspiring start-ups:
  • Choice of business entity
  • Written Business Plan
  • 36-Month Financial Projections – Income/Expense
  • 5 C’s of Credit:
    • Character – trustworthy, good reputation. Credit Score
    • Capital – expect to have to invest something yourself – 20%+?
    • Collateral – assets as 2ndary source of repayment
    • Capacity - your company’s ability to repay debt
    • Conditions – how will your company & industry be affected by economy
An underutilized resource is the business research that can be conducted by a SBDC librarian, such as rules-of-thumb metrics that can be used for business planning.  Upcoming workshops offered in August and September at the Hawaii Community College include Business Insurance 101, Value Added Products, Starting a Small Business in Hawaii (request a workshop brochure from the SBDC for more information).